Loading...

Blog


Ideas, trends and inspiration.

Devils Backbone Makes It Big


April 29, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Together with Nelson County brewpub Devils Backbone Brewing Company, we continue to encourage you to support local businesses during this time. Featured in Book 9 of Wine & Country Life, Devils Backbone shares how a dream grew into a go-to destination for travelers and locals alike. Read on for some of the original article from Book 9.

The History of Devils Backbone Brewery

“Since Steve and Heidi Crandall began Devils Backbone Brewing Company in 2008, it has become a sought-out destination for beer lovers up and down the East Coast. The brewery has even welcomed beer connoisseurs from as far as Scotland and China.

Similar to many family-run craft breweries, this enterprise has grassroots beginnings. The name Devils Backbone is the same name that surveyors, including Thomas Jefferson’s father, named the mountain region almost 300 years ago. 

The idea for the brewery took root during the Crandall’s ski trip in the Alps, where they tried their first craft beer—a German Weisse. ‘People did tell Steve he was crazy,’ Heidi shares. ‘He bought a book on how to build a brewery and, of course, one of the things it outlined was that you needed a certain density of population.

It seems that what the couple had stumbled upon was the perfect recipe of success for a then fledgling industry. The ingredients included: chance, timing, entrepreneurship and, of course, quality beer. 

At Devils Backbone, every single beer has its own unique recipe and brewing process. With a focus on the traditions of Germany, Belgium and England, the team still uses the German-designed Zieman-Miyake system they began with in 2008. That process pumps out a substantial amount through its 120-barrel fully automated, high-tech German Rolec brewing system. 

With products being sold in 13 states in addition to Washington, D.C., Devils Backbone also has its American IPA available in major grocery retailers across the United Kingdom.

Devils Backbone’s Expansion with Anheuser-Busch

What they do seems to be working. Working so well, in fact, that they caught the eye of industry powerhouse Anheuser-Busch InBev, to which after much thought and discussion, they sold in 2016.

‘It was the right decision for us,’ Steve shares. They can still manage all of the operations, while also being able to expand in ways that they couldn’t have before. ‘Our plans just sat, and we put our funding where priorities needed it. Then, we were approached by InBev and we had a dream list, you know, a vision of what we wanted to see completed,’ he adds.

Although still very much in its infancy, the Devils Backbone Distilling Co. has already started to produce award-winning spirits with the help of distiller Matt Casto, including Virginia Pine Gin and Nelly’s Apple and Pear Brandies. Ever the entrepreneur, Heidi has big plans for the distillery’s future, including collaborations with their beers, and a foray into aged spirits like whisky and rum, which Heidi refers to as ‘the browns.’ 

The recent growth and expansion of the brewery have made the business a multi-faceted getaway destination. Guests are now able to stay right on the property and enjoy food, spirits, music, cigars, hiking trails, beer and more without ever leaving the grounds. Alongside the many buildings on the property, some of which include The Oak Grill, the Outdoor Grill and The Shanty—are hoop houses and gardens, where the kitchen is able to grow vegetables, flowers, fruits and herbs.

‘What’s really cool is that InBev is a global company, so now, we get to collaborate with people all over the world. We’re all behind a common cause and a common business and that’s really quite unique. It’s an amazing thing to get people to understand each other better,’ Steve adds. ‘All types of people from all over the world come to Nelson County, which is a very rural county; they get to interact along with the community who maybe don’t travel as much. That’s such a neat asset and just makes it such a unique place.’

Devils Backbone’s Future Vision

With over 200 staff currently employed, the future of Devils Backbone is looking bright, with potential plans to open another location and bring some of the community spirit to other parts of Virginia. The goal is to create other similar outdoor environments, but more in the urban areas. ‘It would be great to touch more people than we already do,’ Heidi says. ‘You see a lot of happy people in this business.'”  ~

—————————

Text Excerpts from Book 9 of Wine & Country Life are by Mandy Reynolds, and to purchase a digital or print copy of the magazine to read the entire article, click here.

Photography by Beth Seliga of 3 Cats Photo

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

12 Movies for Wine Lovers


| Wine & Country Life

The perfect solution to another night at home when you’re longing for your favorite Virginia vineyard. Open a bottle of your preferred local vintage and enjoy a great film about wine. Ranging from documentaries to romantic comedies, if you’re looking for a movie to satisfy your wanderlust (and your desire for wine), try one of these 12 films that are perfect for any wine and/or film lover. 

Sideways (2004)

Toeing the line between comedy and drama, Sideways follows former college roommates Miles and Jack as they take a road trip to California’s wine country to celebrate Jack’s upcoming marriage. Based on Rec Pickett’s novel of the same name, the film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. 

Somm: Into the Bottle (2016)

A documentary about the rarely viewed world of famous and cult winemakers, Somm allows viewers to watch and learn as some of the rarest, most interesting bottles of wine in the world are opened. Through 10 widely varying bottles of wine, viewers learn the history, politics and pleasure of winemaking. 

Bottle Shock (2008)

This comedy-drama is based on the 1976 “Judgement of Paris,” a blind wine tasting competition in which a California wine beat a French wine for the first time. Focusing on California vintner Jim Barrett and Parisian sommelier Steven Spurrier, the film follows the events leading up to Chateau Montelena’s success at the Judgement of Paris, forever changing the world’s opinion of California winemaking. 

https://youtu.be/TiBWHHqK7W8

Wine for the Confused (2004)

Hosted by John Cleese, this documentary is an introduction to wine for novices, making the process of learning about wine lighthearted and fun. Covering basic wine types and grape varieties, winemaking, tasting, and buying and storing wine, Wine for the Confused is an excellent introduction to wine without the intimidation. 

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

Based on the best-selling novel by Robert Crichton, this film is set in the winemaking hill town of Santa Vittoria, Italy, immediately following the fall of Benito Mussolini’s regime. The townspeople hear of Nazi intent to bring the city’s wine back to Germany and must hide over 1 million bottles of wine in Roman caves before the Germans leave Italy. A battle of wits for the wine between the Italian mayor and German commander ensues. 

Mondovino (2004)

This documentary details the impact of globalization on the world’s various winemaking regions. Emphasizing the differences between commercial, mass-producing wineries and small estates, the documentary focuses on the individual flavors of wines made on a smaller scale. 

A Good Year (2006)

A romantic comedy about a businessman who is the sole inheritor of his uncle’s vineyard in southern France and the local cafe owner near the vineyard, A Good Year tells a lovely story of focusing on the important things in life. Russell Crowe plays Max Skinner, the businessman who must decide to either return to his banking job in London or remain in France to run his uncle’s estate. 

A Year in Burgundy (2013)

Seven winemaking families in Burgundy, France, tell the story and history of their connection to the land and to the grapes in this award-winning documentary. This informative film follows a year of winemaking in one of the most famed, prestigious wine countries of the world. 

A Walk in the Clouds (1995)

When soldier Paul Sutton returns home from WWII, he finds himself having difficulty connecting with his wife Betty, whom he married the day before he left. Searching for a new career and meaning, he sets off for Sacramento, meeting graduate student Victoria on the train as she heads back to her family’s vineyard in Napa Valley. When it comes out that Victoria is pregnant, Paul offers to pose as her husband to protect her from her father’s anger, following her to Napa and falling in love despite his current marriage.  

A Year in Champagne (2014)

Wine importer Martine Saunier guides viewers through six houses, exploring the process of champagne-making with some of the world’s most renowned houses like Gosset and Bollinger. This behind-the-scenes look at champagne gives viewers a glimpse into a year of creating the delicious sparkling wine. 

Boom Varietal (2011)

This documentary follows the history of the Argentine Malbec and its recent boom in popularity. Showing the rich culture of Argentina and its dry climate perfect for Malbec, this film shows why Argentine Malbec is the fastest growing wine varietal in the United States. 

Langhe Doc (2011)

Telling three stories describing Langhe, a unique and beautiful region of Italy, this documentary details the possibility of the winemaking region to be overrun with economic expansion and become another “Italy of warehouses.” Three Italian winemakers describe their fight to maintain the region’s integrity.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Virtual Adventure: Travel to Paris in Springtime


April 22, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

While traveling across the Atlantic is not a viable option right now, the ethereal beauty of Paris in the springtime is the perfect escape from reality. As a favorite destination of Thomas Jefferson, one of Virginia wine country’s most famous Founding Fathers, Paris offers a sliver of Virginia history as well.

A scholar by nature, Thomas Jefferson was delighted not only by the beauty he found in the art, architecture and Parisian gardens but also by the intellectual conversation and social life of the city. Because his father insisted on providing him with a classical education, Jefferson felt a strong admiration for European culture at an early age, so it was only natural for him to take his curiosities abroad.

Our third president began his journey to Paris in August 1784, when Congress sent him oversees to join Benjamin Franklin and John Adams as an American Minister to France. Upon his arrival, Jefferson first assumed the role of American tourist, but by the end of his five-year stay in 1789, Jefferson had adapted to the effortless elegance of the Parisian way of life.

In Paris today, there is no shortage of museums, gardens and cafés to explore. Jefferson also took full advantage of the surrounding cultural monuments. The Jardin Des Tuileries, named for the tile factories that previously stood where Queen Catherine de Medici built the famous gardens in the 16th century, was a favorite spot of Jefferson’s. In a letter written to a friend, he explained how he would visit the gardens “almost daily.” Many well respected landscape designers have worked on the beautiful garden since its creation, most notably Andre Le Notre, the gardener to King Louis XIV, who re-designed the Tuileries to the French formal style in which they stand today. 

The perfect afternoon in Paris will always include a stroll through the lovely Tuileries to take in the spring scents—stopping to relax and enjoy a book in the iconic green garden chairs—and a visit at one of the expansive ponds to watch kids and adults alike race colorful sailboats. 

While Jefferson lived in Paris, the Musée du Louvre was the king’s palace. Today, it is the world’s most visited museum, housing over 38,000 priceless works of art from prehistory to the 21st century, including sculptures, paintings, royal artifacts and, of course, the Mona Lisa. Right now, you can even visit it from your living room couch. The Musée du Louvre offers virtual educational tours of four gorgeous exhibits of art and history, including one of the remains of the Louvre’s moat.

Just as it was when Jefferson lived there, Paris is home to many influential artists. Jefferson himself met Jacques Louis David and posed for Jean Antoine Houdon for a portrait bust that was later exhibited in the Salon of 1789.

In the city, there are also a plethora of cafés to stop at and enjoy a coffee and pastry. These quaint French eateries often include traditional fare such as chausson a la pomme fraîche, a flaky pastry filled with apples and cinnamon, or le croque-monsieur, a deceptively simple but infinitely satisfying ham and Gruyere cheese sandwich. Many Parisian streets are home to charming local produce stands and flower shops, perfect for assembling a picnic spread. During springtime while the gardens are bursting with countless tulips and pink and white blossoms light up trees, the parks are filled with locals and visitors picnicking and enjoying the beauty and romance of the season.

The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, meaning “Our Lady of Paris,” is at the heart of the city. Built from 1163 to 1345, the cathedral is over 850 years old, and an architectural beauty. Located on the Île de la Cité, an island in the Seine River, the magnificent structure with its French Gothic style is decorated with ornate flying buttresses. Its awe-inspiring ceilings soar over visitors 200 feet above as they admire the immaculate stained-glass windows and centuries-old artwork. Even after the devastating fire last year, the cathedral stands strong as an emblem of the city’s resilience and history.

While the Notre-Dame does not offer virtual tours currently, there are several other renowned treasures of the city that guide you through their magnificent walls from the comfort of your home. The iconic white Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre offers a complete, immersive discovery tour of its interior and exterior views. The Palais Garnier (Opéra de Paris) takes viewers through 4 incredible tours, even to areas not regularly open to the public. You can see a panoramic of the city from the roof and a view of its underground lake.

After enjoying the grandeur of Paris’s most famous museums and landmarks, a peaceful stroll along the Seine will present a quieter version of the city, where painters often set up their easels. Taking in the rolling river, one can imagine Jefferson strolling along its shores and understand how Paris could provide lessons in history, architecture and even life itself. 

A visit to Paris is the perfect romantic adventure in springtime, so it’s easy to see why Jefferson enjoyed his time there so immensely. He described France as offering “treasures of art, science and sentiment,” and brought many French influences home with him to America that are visible throughout Charlottesville and at Monticello, which combine classical and contemporary French architecture. Jefferson amassed so many furnishings and goods that he needed nearly 200 crates in which to ship them back to Virginia. Jefferson’s time in France has no doubt left an everlasting impression on our local culture and traditions. Paris in springtime is worthy of our appreciation, even if we have to admire it from our couch at home.

To help you bring a little bit of Paris into your home, the Wine & Country Shop is selling Paris Picnic Club: More Than 100 Recipes to Savor and Share by Shaheen Peerbhai and Jennie Levitt.

Original Article in Book 6 by Sarah Payne

Images by Amy Nicole Cherry

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Monticello Shares Tips on How to Start Vegetable Seeds Indoors


April 19, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Staying at home is not only keeping you healthy but also giving you a great opportunity to discover a new hobby. Picking up a new interest that relieves your stress while also providing you with food is a great way to use your time productively, so what better skill to learn at the moment than gardening? In this video, Jessica Bryars, Assistant Manager of Nursery Operations for the Center for Historic Plants at Monticello, walks you through how to plant and propagate vegetable seeds at home so you, too, can start your own garden. 

What Gardening Materials You Will Need.

In order to begin properly planting your vegetables, you need to prepare the materials you will use. Bryars recommends that along with high quality seeds you should gather a soft germination medium (you can easily find potting mixes at Ivy Nursery or another local gardening shop), a watering can, a spray bottle to mist your plants with water, and a container (this can be anything—even empty toilet tissue rolls or old newspaper works great—as long as the container has drainage). Once you have gathered all of this, you’re ready to begin planting!

How to Prepare Your Gardening Containers.

Start by filling the container completely with your chosen potting mix. Once full, gently tap the bottom of the container to the surface you’re working on to make sure the dirt has settled, but don’t pack it in too hard. In order to properly germinate, the seeds will need room to breathe. When done, the container should be loosely full but not crammed. Using your watering can, soak the prepared containers, making sure all of the germination medium is covered. This is why drainage in your containers matters—when soaking, drainage ensures that your containers do not become overly full. 

Tips for Planting Seeds.

As a general rule, Bryars recommends that seeds be planted at a depth equal to three times their diameter. This means that smaller seeds should be planted at a shallower depth than larger ones to ensure that each seed is getting the proper amount of nutrients it needs. Once you make your indentations for each cell of your container, place two seeds into each. Planting two seeds together increases the likelihood of each cell yielding a germinated plant on the off chance a seed doesn’t take to the soil. 

Finishing the Planting Process.

After placing your seeds at an appropriate depth, lightly cover them with dirt to refill the container to its previous capacity. Rather than using your watering can to soak the soil on top of the seeds, use the spray bottle. This prevents the seeds from moving and soaks the soil while maintaining the work you did in placing the seeds. 

How to Care for Your Seeds.

Once finished, place the container somewhere warm. Until the plants have broken the surface, the amount of light reaching them does not matter, so most locations in your home work great. Then, move to a sunny window and continue watering them every day until they grow enough to be moved outside or into a larger container, then watch them grow into delicious vegetables for you and your family!

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Pollak Vineyards Wins the 2020 Monticello Cup


April 16, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

On Wednesday evening, April 15, the Monticello Wine Trail (MWT) announced its 2020 Monticello Cup Winner over a Zoom event, this first of its kind for these awards. This year marks the 30th year for the annual competition held by the MWT, a subsidiary of the Jeffersonian Wine Grape Growers Society made up of farm wineries surrounding Charlottesville in the counties of Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Nelson and Orange.

The evening event was kicked off with a few words from MWT President George Hodson of Veritas Vineyard & Winery, who said a few words on behalf of all the winemakers and growers in the region. “These are unprecedented times, and we are so grateful for the support of our entire community. The members of the MWT will continue to do what we do best and make great wine in order to prepare for the brighter days ahead when we reopen,” he said.

Wine blogger Frank Morgan, this year’s event MC and competition coordinator, went on to share that the 2020 competition welcomed a total of 71 wines from 26 MWT wineries. “I’m honored to be a part of the 2020 awards that recognizes local winemakers and their world-class wines. The history, viticultural diversity, wines and people make the Monticello region one of the most exciting wine regions in the U.S.”

Additionally, Winemaker Matthieu Finot of King Family Vineyards also thanked all participating vineyards and shared a little about the requirements for a wine to be submitted. “Each winery was limited to submitting three wines,” he added “and each must contain 85 percent of grapes from the AVA in order for it to qualify.”

After an extensive judging process that took place at Barboursville Vineyards in early March, Pollak Vineyards was selected as the overall winner of this year’s competition for their 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Benoit Pineau accepted the Monticello Cup on the zoom event and spoke a few words on Pollak’s behalf. “The combination of a great team supported by focused ownership in an exceptional vintage should lead to outstanding wine.”

In addition to Pollak Vineyards’ 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael Shaps‘ 2017 Cabernet Franc and Jefferson Vineyards’ 2017 Jefferson’s Own Estate Reserve were the other two reds recognized in the “Top 3 Reds” category this year. The “Top 3 Whites” included Keswick Vineyards’ 2019 V2, Michael Shaps’ 2017 Petit Manseng and Trump Winery’s 2012 Brut Reserve. Overall, there were 13 gold, 56 silver and 2 bronze winning wines in the 2020 competition.

Although the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival was unable to conduct any events this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it didn’t stop a 30-year-old tradition of celebrating the work of the Monticello AVA.

In alphabetical order by winery, here are the Gold Medal wines from
the 2020 Monticello Cup Wine Competition:

A small family-owned winery, Pollak was founded in 2003 when owners Margot and David Pollak purchased a 98-acre farm west of Charlottesville and Crozet. Today, the winery has 31 acres of French vinifera and offers around a dozen different wines. Again, congratulations to Pollak Vineyards for winning the 2020 Monticello Cup. We are looking forward to another year of enjoying local award-winning wine.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

8 At Home Date Night Ideas


April 11, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Staying inside can make it harder to find creative ways to spend time with your significant other. Since you’re already together all the time these days, making date night feel special can be a challenge—especially when you can’t go out to your favorite breweries, restaurants, vineyards or local events. Although you’re limited in your location, you don’t have to be limited in your options! Maneuvering the challenge of creating a special night in the house can make your date, and the time you spend together, that much better. Below, we’ve compiled some ideas for staying-at-home date nights to help get you started. And, whatever you need to help make this night even better, call a local shop like our Wine & Country Shop for a few local treats—chocolates, wine and beer, pasta, spreads, gifts for him and her, and much more!

Have A Backyard Picnic

With all the time you’re spending at home, sometimes a simple change of scenery while you eat can make it feel like you’re getting out of the house. Shake up your routine by bringing dinner outside. You can set up a lovely picnic blanket and eat under a tree or the stars, while also enjoying the beauty right outside your home. If you want to take your picnic to the next level, you could even set up a projector and treat the night like a drive-in movie.

Make Takeout Romantic with Candlelight

You might not be able to go sit down at your favorite local spot together, but you can try to recreate the full dining experience at home the best you can! Pick up food from one of your favorite local date-night spots, then make your dining room special by adding candlelight, flowers and/or music. And, don’t forget to get dressed up! While it’s not the same as getting out of your house and having the full service of the restaurant, staying in offers an intimate dinner experience you can rarely find anywhere else!

Cook Dinner Together

A huge benefit of the extra free-time you’re getting these days is the ability to pick up a new hobby or try something you’ve never had the time to dedicate to it. Find a recipe you’re both interested in and excited to try, and make it together! If you’re looking to get really into this date night idea, consider making it themed: you could plan the meal around a place you both want to travel (a great way to eliminate cabin fever!), or you could turn it into a friendly competition by pretending you’re on Food Network’s Chopped. Cooking together provides an endless outlet of variations and ways to get creative while spending time together. 

Paint Together

Staying at home doesn’t have to be centered around food—get in touch with your creative sides by painting something! Not only is this very relaxing, but you might find a new hobby and stress outlet. If you’re unsure where to start, try painting along with Bob Ross; most of his shows are on Netflix, and you’ll be amazed at how different both of your paintings turn out, even when you’re following the same thing! If that seems intimidating, try paint-by-number kits—you can find paint-by-numbers depicting almost any famous work of art, and the finished product is guaranteed to look great. Painting together allows you to spend some quality time while de-stressing and exploring a creative outlet.

Set Up An Indoor Mini-Golf Course

If you usually like a more active date night, try setting up your own mini golf course inside or in the yard. You can find home mini-golf kits on Amazon, or you could get creative with what you’ve got. Books, chairs, shoes and other household items make for excellent (non-breakable) obstacles, and a cup or coffee mug can serve as the hole. Setting up the course gives you a new way to look at the items in your home, and it provides something fun to do before your date even begins. 

Have An At-Home Tasting Session

Although you can’t go into the tasting rooms at local wineries, breweries, cideries or distilleries, most are offering curbside pick-up or delivery options. If you can’t fit one of the many virtual tastings area vineyards are now doing, you can still create your own tasting experience at home by picking up a few bottles of your chosen wine, beer, cider or spirit. Often notes on the beverage are listed on the label or on the business’s website, allowing you a small piece of the information you would usually get. This is a great way to support local businesses and educate yourself on some of your favorite locally made drinks.

Watch A Concert or Stand-Up Routine

If you’re missing the feel of going out in large crowds or seeing live shows together, try opening a bottle of wine and looking up a concert from a musician you love on YouTube. A lot of concerts have been recorded and uploaded to the platform over the years, allowing you the experience without needing to leave the comfort of your home. Another option is checking out StageIt or an artist’s Instagram Live; while you can’t see your favorite artists in person, plenty have been putting on virtual concerts for fans, taking song requests and communicating in real time just like usual. If you prefer stand-up comedy to a concert, try one of the many stand-up specials available on Netflix.

Relax With A DIY Spa Night

Like most people around the world, you’re likely feeling stressed. To help mitigate this while spending quality time together, try having a do-it-yourself spa night. Put on robes, light a scented candle, and make your own face masks. If you’d rather have the face masks, lotions, bath salts and more ready to go, try one of our locally made spa items at our Wine & Country Shop. To take things to the next level, make a jug of cucumber infused water to really get the spa feel in your home. 

Finding a way to make date night special at home can be a challenge, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited in ways you can spend time together. Creative ways to go on a date without leaving the house can also help you learn things about yourself and your significant other you might not have previously known, and it will give you a new appreciation for your surroundings at home.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Wine and Dine Wednesdays with Tavola Pasta


April 8, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

With a quarantine keeping the whole family inside, now is the time to break out some new recipes. That’s why we’re so excited that local restaurant Tavola released a cookbook with all their favorite Italian recipes. The great thing about pasta-based recipes is that you can buy dry pasta from the store to keep on your shelves so you always have the ingredients, or you can turn the process into a fun project and make homemade pasta with the kids or your significant other!

Pappardelle Alla Ragu

Fresh pappardelle pasta with braised pork, red wine and San Marzano tomatoes. (Serves four!)

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. fresh pappardelle pasta (Keep scrolling to see how you can make it yourself!)
  • 4 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 oz. tomato paste
  • 6 oz. dry red wine
  • 2 28 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 8 leaves chopped basil
  • ¼ tsp. toasted, ground fennel seed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions

Cut pork shoulder into one- to two-inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper, and brown in a sauté pan over medium to high heat. Remove the pork from the pan, add two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft.

Pour the tomatoes from the can into a bowl and crush by hand, removing undesirable pieces. In the sauté pan, add tomato paste, cook for two minutes, then deglaze with red wine and add canned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and add herbs.

Slow cook until the pork is tender, about three to four hours. Cook pasta al dente. Strain, add desired amount of pork ragu to noodles, and stir together to coat. 

Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano and sprinkle with chopped basil.

Fresh Homemade Pasta

Yields 8 ounces.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup 00 semolina flour
  • ⅓ cup No. 1 semolina flour
  • ⅛ tsp salt

Instructions

Sift flour onto the work surface and make a well in the center. Add the egg yolks into the well, then slowly incorporate them into the flour with a fork. Keep going until the dough is smooth.

When the dough comes together into a ball, knead it for about 10 minutes until it’s a cohesive, smooth mass. Cover with a damp towel, and let it rest for half an hour.

Divide the dough into two balls. Flatten them slightly and dust with flour. Using a pasta machine on the widest setting, feed the dough through three times. Adjust to the lowest setting and put the dough through again. The sheet should be thin. 

Fold the sheet over three or four times for cutting, then slice by hand to inch-wide noodles. Unroll to separate and loosen before cooking.

Click here to purchase your copy of the Tavola cookbook from our Wine & Country shop. Want to add a bottle of your favorite local wine to pair with a pasta dish, call The Wine & Country Shop at 434-984-4713 for curbside, no-contact pick-up.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

The Builder of Pippin Hill Shares Tips on Sustainable Home Improvement


April 3, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Spring is a wonderful time to tackle home improvement projects. Whether you have a large property or a cozy cottage, there is without a doubt a myriad of ideas that have been on your “someday list,” all of which would give you a great feeling of satisfaction to complete followed by years of enjoyment. After talking to George Abetti from GeoBarns, who worked with Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards to build a world-class winery and event destination, we wanted to share some ideas from projects they’ve completed in Virginia and around the globe to inspire your own home.

Merging Indoor & Outdoor Living

GeoBarns’ work at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in North Garden, Virginia, merges not only a winery with a wedding venue but also indoor and outdoor living. The winery’s iconic 18′ tall barn doors frame the entry to a 40′ wide event barn, where guests can meander indoors and out through an array of French doors. The 18′ deep farmer’s porch outside shelters an outdoor dining and pre-event gathering area, and connects the main event space to the more intimate tasting room. Used for casual dining during the day, the room features generous views and abundant natural light. 

Pro Tips for Merging Indoor & Outdoor Living: As you consider building on an addition or renovating a space, keep a few things in mind. Be consistent or complementary with architecture, create seamless transitions from one space to the next and pay attention to functionality and orientation of the space.

Landscaping Tips to Attract Bees to Your Yard

Their Rochetta project in Italy includes water pathways, a vineyard, roads, new and medieval buildings, and the development of a permaculture farm. In order to sustain the property long beyond their project, they planted a wide variety of bee-friendly flowers and shrubs and tree guilds, which are groupings of plants that support a central plant like a fruit tree to help naturally fertilize, repel pests, attract beneficial insects, create mulch, suppress weeds and more.

Pro Landscaping Tips for Your Yard: As you revive your spring garden, consider incorporating native varieties and pollinator-friendly plants with flat or shallow blossoms, such as daisies, zinnias, asters and Queen Anne’s lace. The precious bees and butterflies sure to follow will bring life to your space and help preserve it for years to come.

Tips for Enhancing Your View

During GeoBarns’ travels to Texas for their Arrowhead Hill project, they built a “spectacular chapel with impressive scissor trusses” (a first for the team!) and a “high vertical space stabilized with a huge porch.” As the project goal was to create a breathtaking wedding venue, it prioritized the natural setting.

Pro Tips for Enhancing Your View: Lucky for us, our gorgeous Virginia land makes for beautiful scenery to enjoy from home. When considering renovations, think about utilizing vertical space or adding a sweeping porch to enjoy the fresh air and mountain views.

Sustainable Renovation Tips

The Arrowhead Hill project features a Windswept siding from reclaimed forest fire trees across the Western U.S. Not only does this weathered wood look incredible as an interior or exterior accent, it repurposes fire-damaged trees, so it’s good for the Earth, too.

Pro Tips on Sustainable Renovations: If you’re thinking about building on an addition to your home, incorporate natural, non-toxic materials, such as salvaged wood for gorgeous character and to make a green statement.

Through all the labor and design, Abetti says the best part of GeoBarns’ globetrotting journey has been the outpouring of compassion and friendship that results from meaningful design. “We may have built some beautiful buildings, but we have built each other’s lives as well with the help of countless others who have passionately poured themselves into this odyssey.”

Check out more work by Abetti and the GeoBarns’ team here.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Great Virginia Books to Enjoy While at Home


April 1, 2020 | Wine & Country Life

Now’s a great time to pick up that book you always said you wanted to read, and when you’re finished with that one, we’ve got some recommendations from renowned writers in our region! From fiction and nonfiction to cookbooks, each of these selections is either written by a Virginia author or focuses on an aspect of Virginia history. Enjoy!

Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. Ivy Life & Style Media is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you purchase a product via one of these links we will earn a commission but it will not affect the price you pay for the item. Happy shopping!

For Fiction Lovers:

Who doesn’t like fiction? Each of these selections offers a “can’t-put-it-down” experience that’s perfect for staying in or sitting on the back porch.

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt | Fiction
    • The Goldfinch is a haunting story of loss and art and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize. Tartt, who lives near Charlottesville, is also known for her novels The Secret History and The Little Friend.
  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane | Fiction
    • A New York Times bestselling novel, Ask Again, Yes is about two neighboring families in a small town that experience tragedy, marriage and forgiveness. Keane is a University of Virginia alumna and was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. She also received citations from the National Book Foundation, PEN America and the Hemingway Society.
  • One Good Deed by David Baldacci | Fiction
    • A historical thriller, One Good Deed shares the story about a WWII veteran forced to investigate a small-town murder or risk returning to prison. Baldacci is an alumnus of the University of Virginia School of Law and has published a total of 37 novels for adults, with more scheduled to come.

For Nonfiction & Poetry Lovers:

Enjoy either a nonfiction book based on a true story or one about Virginia’s history of beer, as well as a collection of poems by a highly recognized UVA graduate.

  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly | Nonfiction
    • Hidden Figures is the New York Times bestselling true story of the black female mathematicians whose calculations helped fuel the American space race. Shetterly is also a graduate of the University of Virginia and a current Charlottesville resident.
  • Virginia Beer: A Guide from Colonial Days to Craft’s Golden Age by Lee Graves | Nonfiction
    • Virginia has a long history as a key player in the beer boom. In his book, Graves traces the history of Virginia beer and brewmasters from Jamestown to present day. He is an award-winning beer writer and the author of Richmond Beer: A History of Brewing in the River City and Charlottesville Beer: Brewing in Jefferson’s Shadow.
  • Anagnorisis: Poems by Kyle Dargan | Poetry
    • Kyle Dargan’s book is a collection of poems that explores the complications of life as African Americans centered on James Baldwin’s recognition that an African American may never be considered an equal in citizenship or humanity. Dargan is a University of Virginia graduate, and the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

For Cookbook Lovers:

All four locally inspired cookbooks are available at the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop, which is now offering virtual shopping and no-contact pick up, so go ahead and mix-up your menu.

  • Red Truck Bakery Cookbook by Brian Noyes | Cookbook
    • Red Truck Bakery out of Marshall, VA, is known across the country for its incredible baked goods. From sweet potato pie to double chocolate moonshine cake, this cookbook has earned bakery nods from the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, among others. Learn about the history of baking while trying any of the 85 mouth-watering recipes by owner and baker Brian Noyes.
  • Hoos in the Kitchen by Melissa Palombi | Cookbook
    • Charlottesville’s booming food scene is loved by students and locals alike, inspiring Melissa Palombi to create a cookbook of over 60 recipes curated by members of the UVA community. It’s a great ode to UVA favorites, including everything from the Virginian’s Stumble Down Mac ‘n Cheese to clams cooked with Bold Rock Hard Cider.
  • Tavola by Michael Keaveny | Cookbook
    • One of Charlottesville’s many beloved restaurants, Tavola is known for its excellent Italian food. In this cookbook, chef Michael Keaveny shares favorite recipes along with wine and music pairings for each, rounding out the full dine-in atmosphere of Tavola.
  • The Imbible by Micah LeMon | Cocktail Guide
    • The Imbible brings Micah LeMon’s two decades of bartending experience right into your home. Focusing on the four main components of a drink (spirit, sweet, and sour or bitter), LeMon explains the way each contributes to the flavor and balance of a cocktail. Including over 40 cocktail recipes, The Imbible also covers the best bartending tools and techniques to educate even the most novice of bartenders.

For more great local reads, be sure to follow the “Culture Notes” in each issue of Wine & Country Life and stop by our Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop. To recommend a Virginia author or Virginia-focused book, email us here.

Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in the region, are accompanied by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginian artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire, to locally made foods and award-winning Monticello AVA wines, as well as craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and hands-on classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.